First tasks for DeFalco as BMR’s school chief: Listen and ask questions

First tasks for DeFalco as BMR’s school chief: Listen and ask questions

BLACKSTONE, Mass. – Jason DeFalco, deputy superintendent of the New Bedford Public School System, was chosen last week as the new leader of the Blackstone-Milliville Regional School District.

Members of the School Committee say they chose DeFalco for:

• His passion for public education;

• His established instructional leadership roles across grades;

• His ability to work with others;

• And his focus on increasing student learning and achievement.

DeFalco will begin his tenure as the superintendent for Blackstone-Millville on July 1.

“I am very excited to start my work in BMRSD and can’t wait to get to know both communities, students and staff at a far deeper level,” he said. “The first leg of my work will begin with a lot of listening and asking questions.”

He said there is already a strong foundation in place due to the work of the current administration and School Committee that he “will be able to pick up the ball where it is and continue the good work they have started.”

DeFalco beat out two other finalists for the position, Kevin McNamara, principal of Lincoln High School, and Richard Drolet, director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and accountability for Uxbridge schools.

Former Supt. Allen Himmelberger retired last September after four years as head of schools at BMR.

“The School Committee looks forward to welcoming Dr. DeFalco to our district and introducing him to the families that we serve,” said Jane Reggio, head of the school board.

DeFalco stood out among the field of candidates for his passion and proven track record in making student-focused decisions that support academic success, said Reggio. He has expertise in instructional strategies, innovative professional development programs, and a strong understanding of K-12 curriculum.

“His strength as a communicator and collaborative leader focused on building relationships will continue Dr. DeFalco’s successes,” Reggio said, adding that DeFalco “will be a visionary leader and a great match for our staff, students, and communities.”

DeFalco said he looks forward to strengthening and innovating in the areas of curriculum, teaching and learning.

“The students and teachers in BMRSD, from my visit to the district, are clearly already engaged in very good work and they deserve the best of what we have to offer in this area,” he said.

The district is “2,000 strong,” between its 1,750 students and 250 staff, “and will play to the strengths of each child and adult,” he pledged. “We will deepen the work with our core values – community, civility, respect and achievement, embracing and living each value.”

The students-first approach in the district “will be second to none, and we will lead the way in educational excellence developing happy, healthy and proficient children in the Blackstone Valley,” he said.

He said he looks forward to laying out more specific details as officials continue with the transition.

DeFalco, a resident of Portsmouth, comes to BMR with more than 17 years of experience in public education. Prior to arriving in New Bedford, he worked as a middle school principal in both Somerville and Worcester, Mass. He earned a doctorate of education degree from Johnson and Wales University in school leadership and administration and also holds a master’s degree in school leadership and administration from Worcester State College.

He comes to Blackstone-Millville with very high recommendations from his current superintendent, Pia Durkin.

School Committee members said they were committed to a rigorous search process and to providing the community clear and comprehensive information beginning last November. The committee conducted focus groups and community surveys to provide input on the desired qualities of the next superintendent. More than 20 applicants applied for the position.

Committee members said in a release that they look forward to welcoming DeFalco and are confident that “his vision and spirit are a perfect match for the Blackstone-Millville Regional School District and its two communities.”

In his spare time, DeFalco is an avid runner. He said he loves watching movies with his two boys.